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First DUI in California - What should you do next?

Looking south above Interstate 80, the Eastsho...
It is illegal in the state of California to operate a motorized vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. It is also illegal to operate a motorized vehicle under the influence of alcohol at any level if you are unable to do so safely. Both of these charges are misdemeanor offenses, although the Vehicle Code section 23153 outlined the charges for felony DUI charges if your drunk driving causes injury and Penal Code sections 191.5 and 192 identifies information about vehicular manslaughter.

Do I have a chance of winning my DUI case?

  We had a driver on our forum ask us recently if they had a good chance of winning their DUI case. They mentioned they had five glasses of wine in a five hour period. They did not provide any additional information about their DUI arrest but below are some of the issues that should be reviewed with a DUI lawyer to determine if the prosecution’s case is strong:
  1. Did the police have probable cause to make the DUI stop and detain you? Probable cause can include witnessing a traffic infraction (weaving, running a red light, speeding, stopping and starting or driving too slow).
  2. If you were asked to submit to a field sobriety test or the portable breathing machine the police should have notified you that these tests were voluntary.
  3. If the police asked you to submit to a chemical test than they should have notified you of the consequences of failing to take this test in the state of California.
  4. If you were arrested, taken into custody and interrogated the police should read you your Miranda Warnings. If you were not taken into custody or interrogated this may not be necessary and you should discuss this with your lawyer.
  5. You also have the legal right to get information from your breathalyzer test to give to your defense lawyer.
Your DUI lawyer will also review other aspects of your case:
  • What other physical evidence does the state have as evidence that you were intoxicated?
  • Did you provide incriminating statements to the police?
  • Did you injure or kill another driver?
  • Do you have other DUI arrests or convictions?
As you can see, due to the complexity of DUI laws and the evidence that needs to be reviewed it is a good idea to talk to a California DUI lawyer.

DUI penalties for a first time DUI arrest in California

  • Jail time which can range from 96 hours to 6 months
  • Fines which can range from $1,000 to $1,600
  • License suspension up to 6 months
  • Drivers must complete a driving under the influence program
  • Drivers may be ordered to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on their vehicle
  • Drivers will be required to purchase California SR22 Insurance (Required for Restricted License)

California Administrative License Suspension

Under California’s implied consent laws you can also have your license suspended if you refused or failed a chemical test. Administrative License Suspensions may be contested by filing an Administrative Hearing within 10 calendar days after the DUI arrest. An Administrative License Suspension is a civil proceeding and penalties will be imposed even if you are found not guilty of a DUI.
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